New stem cell technology for complicated bone fractures

Researchers have developed a new way of using stem cells to provide better and rapid healing for patients suffering from complicated bone fractures.

A novel technology is developed by Dr. Zulma Gazit, Dr. Gadi Pelled, Prof. Dan Gazit and their research team at the Skeletal Biotechnology Laboratory at the Hebrew University, and published in the journal Stem Cells.

The Hebrew University group has developed a technology called immuno-isolation in which MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) are sorted out from the other cells residing in a bone marrow sample, using a specific antibody. In the Stem Cell paper it was shown that the immuno-isolated cells could be immediately used to form new bone tissue when implanted in laboratory animals, without having to undergo a prolonged incubator growth period.

To date, seven patients suffering from complicated fractures have been treated successfully with a combination of their own immuno-isolated MSCs and blood products. The entire procedure lasted a few hours and without any need to grow the cells for weeks in a laboratory.

It is anticipated that future development of the current endeavor will extend to treat other injuries in the skeleton, such as degenerated intervertebral discs or torn tendons. The Gazit group believes that further clinical trials will demonstrate that the immuno-isolation technology is useful in overcoming morbidity in patients suffering from skeletal fractures and diseases, and might restore function and quality of life to sick and injured people.

In this regard, Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the technology transfer arm of the university, licensed the immuno-isolation technology to TheraCell Inc. of California in July 2009. TheraCell aims to further develop and commercialize the technology for advanced regenerative medicine procedures such as spinal fusion.

Source: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

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